Great Skate #3 - Brickworks Skating Trail

Sunday, January 15 was a cold, sunny day - the perfect day for skating.

The Brickworks rink comes up a lot when I tell people about Great Skate 2012. It seems that if any skating enthusiasts haven't been there yet, they want to go. And if they have been there, then they want to go back.

The Brickworks is a "community environment centre" just off Pottery Road in the Don Valley, run by the Evergreen charity. I've been to its farmers' market and hiking trail in warmer weather. This was my first time at the rink. My friends Lauralee and Michael came to keep me company.

Getting there is a bit challenging. If you haven't got a car, and it's too cold for cycling, then the best bet is the free shuttle bus that stops next to Broadview subway station. But the shuttle bus promotion could do with a boost. There was decent information about it on the Brickworks website, but only a small portable sign at the bus stop. And the shuttle itself is just a plain white minivan. Seems like the Brickworks is missing a good opportunity to slap a magnetic sign on the side to advertise themselves.

On that particular afternoon, I was the only passenger on the shuttle bus. It was like having my own private limo.

The challenge of getting there is worth it, I think. The Brickworks is my favourite kind of place - it's carefully designed, but you feel like you're exploring a hidden part of the city.

The "skating trail" is in an old, roofless factory building. The name is a bit misleading - I was picturing something bigger, when it's actually smaller than a hockey rink - but its gentle loops create a nice rhythm to your skating. (But you're looking to do some strenuous, fast-paced laps you'd be better off at a different rink.)

Other highlights: you can rent skates for $5, there's an indoor changing area and washrooms nearby, there are lots of seats around the rink, and you're sheltered from the wind. And on that afternoon there were also logs burning in barrels, which smelled good. Oh, and there's very high-quality hot chocolate at the cafe, for those who think that's important.

More Great Skates

Great Skates So Far - see all the rinks I've visited in my Great Skate Project


Popular Great Skates

Great Skate #7 - Ryerson Community Park

Great Skate #21 - Greenwood Park (renovated)

Great Skate #1 - Barbara Ann Scott Rink

Great Skate #30: Arrowhead Provincial Park

Cold winters, now and then